I'll get to the specifics in a bit, but it's important you understand the why of it all.
Clear and disable your Google search history.
So how do you avoid getting wrong in this minefield of competing risks and drains on your credulity? What is is the magic bullet that works for me?
Beginning with the browser most likely to satisfy me, Mozilla Firefox ( current version) will almost always be better than Chrome, if like me you enjoy fiddling with your settings and being master of your domain ( apologies to Seinfeld). Firefox allows you to tailor your browsing with a number of add ons that insure your safety and ease of use. The best are Adblock plus, it does what it says on the tin. Stopping most adds on ITV, 4oD, and forums and streaming sites that would normally get your browser to crawl to a stand still. While Adblock can seem a bit of a pain in the ass sometimes, remember when that streaming site insists you disable Adblock, it's most likely just angry you've stopped it's cookies and viruses from entering your machine. If it seems to good to be true, if you just let the ads on, it is. Better Privacy does for you what most antivirus will do only in the paid version, and that's stop the cookies that track you and your locations. If like me, you can write in a few languages, Firefox has a number of dictionaries you can install as well. Lastly and most cool, Firefox has a wide variety of skins to dress your browser in. One is in Tardis blue with stars and the other is all Newcastle United. You just try that in IE or Chrome. Now if you aren't that bothered with a lot of useful bits you can control with ease, then Chrome, aka Firefox light, is the browser for you. Still does a lot, still better than IE, but beware, the best add ons are written for the open source Firefox and will always be fixed long before Chrome notices there was ever anything wrong.
|Give us your password|
Now here comes the cool stuff.....
VPN ( virtual private network) v Proxy: That's easy, but let's see why. Proxy does what VPN does, it allows you to be in another country, even if you're in a different country. But unlike the VPN, Proxy services tend to be used by more than just revolutionaries, people just trying to watch a bit of BBC iPlayer away from home, or some CBS show they missed that month while away on business. Proxy is dangerous, if only because it's a known tool used by people who are trying to counter security measures in illegal commercial transactions. So what! you say, you just wanted to catch up on Corrie or Match of the Day? Oh and if a load of people are all on the same server at the same time, you won't be getting anywhere near the bandwidth they promised you. No big deal? try and access your paypal account or do a bank transaction, it won't work, every bell and whistle and alarm will go off, and rightly so, because criminals are doing the same as you on IP addresses that change as often as babies change nappies. Using a VPN will insure a near uniform access, secure private and reliable connection that isn't being shared by a 1000 other people, including some pretty dodgy people up to no good. This also means you can access your accounts without having to worry. In proxy, doing so resets all your cookies, and in the case of paypal, blocks your access till you reset your password. There is one other pretty compelling reason to go VPN, unlike proxy settings that are fiddly even for most nerds and need setting up on every browser and every application you use, VPN installs once, and connects to your server efficiently and quickly. My choice is VPNUK. A company that has not let us down yet. A brilliant service group that will with live help, get you set up, and if you need assistance later, sort you out promptly. VPNUK charges about the same as others for a month, but affiliated with a multiplicity of online payment systems, is dead easy to get onto at £5.99. With VPNUK you bypass the hassle of international banking and you can still catch up with telly from home, and should anything happen, the live help is there most of the day.
Radio Downloader, I can select my favourite shows, leave it running and presto, I have the broadcast for as long as I want it. Yes you're right, just how many times can you listen to Jilted John or Oh Bondage up yours? Well ... as often as I can some days, but for most people it's a wonderful way to record a unique event off the full spectrum of BBC radio. I'm particularly proud of the time I got a request read on the air, and now I can hear it again and again. Ok that's sad, but I also have the time Nicola Bryant was interviewed, that time him off the Rezillos talked about the formative years of the band or when The Happy Cats played live.
Are you on Facebook all the time, Facebook doing your head in with all the sidebars and tickers and other wee multi legged beasties they unleash on us? feedfilter from Firefox lets you customize just how much of the content you want to hide. Oh of course you can do that now without it, but only because Feedfilter came first, and it's still working beyond the call of duty hiding ads and other elements Mark Zuckerberg seems to think I need.
Now not withstanding the bollocking I gave Google before, G-mail has unleashed a cool bit of kit for the entire year of 2012.... If you live in North America ( but not Mexico) you can ring people for free from G mail. It doesn't matter if it's a mobile number or a land line, it's free. Before they wake up and realize what they've done, use it. Free phone calls anywhere in Canada or the United states from within Canada or the United States, assuming you have the people to talk to, Get in ! Pity they didn't do it for the EU and GB, but hey, if you can use, you'd be a daft cnut not to.
Crossing the WHOniverse is one stop for every era. You'll have to navigate a few places that seem to think there were ever only 6 series, silly people, but if it's online, you'll find it here.
What about that collection of region one DVDs, maybe your mate from England gifted you an entire collection of BBC DVDs, or worse that collection of lush Jackie Chan stuff that just won't play on your machine. And if you've changed your region more then the 6 times allowed, it stuck on whatever you were last watching. VLC Media player comes to the rescue, after much searching and trying , it's the only one that works for sure without spending money and as good as any as the ones that cost. Install it, it's safe, it's easy and uncomplicated. I'd pay, but frankly the firms out there offering the software demand far too much information and will mostly try to get you to buy a load of stuff you don't need along with some tricky viruses.
Clouds...... clouds are stupid, they are cumbersome and accomplish little, get a detachable data storage unit, a stick, a big external drive, it's faster and more secure.
For the nerds and anoraks who love canny open source stuff that works, Filzip for compressing files, CCleaner for cookies and other essential bits of cleaning and for the ones too skint to pay for Windows office Suite.. Open office is free to use and does the exact same thing.
Follow my advice and you'll be happy, safe and mostly trouble free. You could do this the hard way and try all sort of other things, but I hope you'll save yourself the palaver.
Last bit of advice if you're running a business, if you don't have an online presence, get one, if you have one but haven't optimized your site, do it, if you're thinking of doing it, don't let your 14 year old nephew do it. Trust a professional and pay the price, Like all things on the net that require the slightest bit of talent, people want it for free. Be it writing, music or computer services.
I would have loved to do a review of the best paypal type services, but that will be for another time. I hope this has helped. Surf safe, surf happy and be aware that sometimes you need to pay to get something in return.